Diaspora

Haiti: Unrest likely to continue nationwide through late October /update 3 – Crisis24

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Protests will likely continue across Haiti through at least late October. Disruptive unrest and roadblocks have been taking place nationwide since early September to demand lower fuel prices and that acting Prime Minister Ariel Henry steps down. In addition, there are likely to be further protests in opposition to President Henry’s call for foreign military assistance to combat gang activity in the country.
Disruptive protests, strikes, and looting incidents have continued in the capital and other cities, including Cap-Haitien and Gonaives. The country’s shortages of essential goods, especially fuel, have been exacerbated by several weeks of protests and gang blockades around Cite Soleil’s Varreux Terminal. Many services and businesses that rely on diesel to power their electricity generators have been forced to halt or limit activities. As of Oct. 13, many hospitals nationwide, including the Canape-Vert, Bernard Mevs, and the Saint-Luc Foundation of hospitals in the capital, are operating at extremely limited capacity.
Significant traffic disruptions will likely continue nationwide for the duration of the unrest. In some areas, shortages of basic goods, including water and food, will likely continue due to gang activity and civil unrest. Protests are likely near government buildings and foreign diplomatic missions, as well as on major roads. Security forces will likely be deployed to monitor and manage protests, but Haitian authorities do not have the capability to control the gatherings. Serious clashes and violence involving security forces, protesters, and gangs are possible, especially in Port-au-Prince.
The current wave of demonstrations began in response to the government’s Sept. 11 announcement terminating fuel subsidies, along with subsequent announcements that fuel prices would almost double. Labor organizations, including the National Coordination of Haitian Workers, have called for protests in several urban centers nationwide, including Cap-Haitien, Gonaives, Petit-Goave, and Jeremie. The largest and most disruptive demonstrations have been reported in Port-au-Prince. Business activities have been seriously impacted in recent weeks following numerous reports of roadblocks, burning tires, and clashes involving police, protesters, and some civilians traveling near protests.
Roadblocks have been severely impacting overland travel in and around Port-au-Prince, especially in the areas of Delmas, Petionville, Champs de Mars, and Canape-Vert. Due to widespread protests in the capital, some diplomatic missions have suspended operations, while others are continuing to operate with limited capabilities. Several local and foreign private businesses have been looted and vandalized during protests.
The wave of unrest occurs amidst significant political, security, and economic upheaval in Haiti. The country has also been deeply affected by rising prices for imported fuel, food, and other goods, contributing to the frequency of civil unrest. Security personnel are under-resourced and ill-prepared to deal with the rising insecurity.
Exercise extreme caution if operating anywhere in Haiti, especially in Port-au-Prince. Avoid any demonstrations that may materialize. Keep away from areas known to be affected by recent protest activity or violence. Do not attempt to drive through protester-erected roadblocks. Maintain contact with diplomatic representations, if possible. Establish a thorough communication plan to ensure rapid accountability for all personnel operating in Haiti.
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